What is being said and written about Article 370 these days is either a prelude to a real showdown, or a passing storm. It would be futile to speculate on how developments unfold. But the one salutary fallout so far has been that inherent contradictions in pro-India politicians and their brand of politics have again come to the fore. And these contradictions have a great lesson for them as well as the resistance leadership.
For example, Omar Abdullah’s aggressive posturing. Responding to the saffronised doctor from Jammu, Jitender Singh, who claimed that the process for repealing this shredded bit of legislation had already been set into motion, Omar warned that the Article would either remain as it is or Kashmir would no longer be a part of India.
The statement implies that Kashmir would erupt in a way to make azadi inevitable. Or that once the Indians start junking the legislation, rather the empty shell that remains, they would have to reconstitute the Constituent Assembly or take concurrence from the current assembly, where they don’t have enough BJP or Congress members to vote abrogation.
Indians, history tells us, are good at enacting and demolishing laws, especially when it comes to Kashmir. They have already rendered Article 370 as weak as they could with the help of the Bakhshis and the Abdullahs and the Muftis. And this demolition has been carried out by the Congress alone, without any such fuss as akhand bharat, or raising the secularism bogey. In fact, they have done it more effectively than the BJP could have. So, if push comes to shove, the BJP might override all legal obstacles in scrapping it, notwithstanding Omar Abdullah’s and Mehbooba Mufti’s self-assured parroting of how impossible it is to repeal.
We also have to see what pro-India parties did when the Article was tampered with the last time. With the help of comprador mercenaries like Bakhshi and Sadiq, New Delhi hollowed it out through a variety of constitutional frauds. But when Sheikh Abdullah was granted the chair, he did nothing to get the state’s highly-touted constitutional position restored. His son persisted in either remaining silent or actively assisting in wiping out the last shreds of its sovereignty.
Why should the third-generation Abdullah expect some earth-shaking reaction from the people of Kashmir when he is part of the oppressive system that has put down such reactions in the past with brutal force? The liberation struggle, on a larger scale, is also a struggle for insulating the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir from the nefarious plans of the RSS and equally devious plans of the Congress.
On whom are the NC and the PDP banking when they talk of an imminent reaction in Kashmir? The same people they sent to jails under the PSA? The same people on whom they unleash trigger-happy policemen and soldiers? By furthering Indian interests in Kashmir, pro-India politicians have not only created divisions among the state’s Muslims but also weakened their capability to resist. That is probably whey a large number of Kashmiris, who want the implementation of their promised right to self determination, are not only unfazed by the threats to abrogate Article 370, but actually desire the fascist fringe to go ahead and junk it.
RSS ideologue MG Vaidya was quoted in an Indian newspaper thus: “If Jammu and Ladakh don’t want such a provision and people of Kashmir maintain their rigid views, then Ladakh and Jammu be separated from the state.”
Remember, unlike Omar Abdullah, Vaidya didn’t say that he was not answerable to those who didn’t vote. The Sangh ideologue is talking for the majority communities in Jammu (Hindus) and Ladakh (Buddhists) – even those who must have voted for the Congress or other parties.
Omar recently said that he was not answerable to people who do not vote. Where do such people fit in the manufactured controversy over the Article? Is he speaking for them too? The third generation leader of the NC should understand that the polity of Jammu has been saffronised in all seasons of Indian statecraft, whether steered by the Congress or the RSS-backed BJP. The way people of Jammu and Ladakh voted for Modi should be signal enough for him to start taking seriously the interests of those who have been terrorised for the past six decades for demanding their political rights.
So far as the PDP is concerned, it should shun its “tactical ambiguity.” So long as people who provide it inputs and canvass for it in newspaper articles continue to preach that “complete integration” with India only would resolve the “problem,” Mehbooba’s passionate defence of Article 370 can only be construed as posturing for the upcoming assembly polls, especially when her party is expected to perform well.
Mehbooba’s first reaction to Jitender Singh’s revelation was: “There will be anarchy in Kashmir.” And Kashmiris remember, post-2008 and 2010, how the word “anarchy” was employed to crush them.